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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clear the track, here comes Santa; First Light at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons; and Christkindl Market in Kitchener

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 23/13

   By Jim Fox

   Here comes the “ho, ho, ho” express while other seasonal treats include First Light at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and everything’s wunderbar in Kitchener.

   Clear the track
   All aboard Santa trains on the South Simcoe and Port Stanley railways.
Santa entertains on his special train rides in December on the South Simcoe Railway. (Photo by Charles Bryant)
   The “jolly gent” and his elves are aboard the huffing and puffing steam train as it chugs through the Beeton Creek Valley on weekends from Dec. 7 through 20.
   Travel is in restored 1920’s coaches over the rails of the century-old branch line that once connected Hamilton with Barrie and Collingwood.
   Riders can “share the magic of Christmas” on board the annual Santa Claus Express to the “North Pole.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

W. Brett Wilson and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to headline The Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto

(News Release)
TORONTO – The modern gentleman finally has a show to call his own. The Gentlemen’s Expo (TGE) (www.gentlemensexpo.com) is coming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 22nd – 24th and will combine a conference and consumer show for both men, and the women in their lives.

TGE expects to draw over 20,000 attendees and will be the must attend event of the year, providing a one of a kind experience with 10 pavilions that will feature celebrity guests, special events and the brands that matter most to guys.

“There isn’t a show out there that offers something of relevance to the modern gentleman… so we decided to create one” - Luca del Rosso, Co Founder of TGE.

Rant Maggie Rant announces tour dates for 2013 Frost & Fire: A Celtic Christmas Celebration

Rant Maggie Rant: Barry James Payne, Lindsay Schindler and Glen Dias
STRATFORD, ON – After the successful independent release of Rant Maggie Rant’s (RMR) third CD this fall, the band is preparing to embark on their 5th annual Frost & Fire tour, which kicks off November 28 in the idyllic rural hamlet of Utopia, near Barrie, Ontario.

RMR began hosting their Frost & Fire: A Celtic Christmas Celebration Tour four years ago. It didn’t take long for both the musicians and their fans to realize how much the holiday season was becoming an inspiring tradition for them all.

“Now, the holiday season doesn’t seem like it’s here, unless we share it with our fans and friends that have grown with us throughout the years,” says the band’s fiddler Lindsay Schindler, who leads the ensemble.

Michael Bublé returns to the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2014

Returning 10 years after his Festival debut

The event of the 35th anniversary!

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, is proud to present, in collaboration with evenko and Live Nation, Michael Bublé at the Bell Centre on July 4, at 8 p.m.

Bublé is currently wrapping up a 40 date tour of the US in support of his sixth studio album To Be Loved, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 Pop Charts in April.
As a gift to fans, a specially-priced package coupling To Be Loved with Bublé's perennial chart-topping collection, Christmas, was released last Monday, exclusively to Canadian retail. A Christmas special hosted by Bublé will be airing in December, check local listings for details.
Also announced to date are:
- Pianist-composer Alain Lefèvre and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, who will kick off the festivities on June 26 at 8 p.m. in the Maison symphonique de Montréal, with The Gershwin Legacy, a concert dedicated to the famous composer.

New at the 2014 Toronto International Boat Show, Jan. 11-19

King Crabber and “Deadliest Catch” reality star Russell Newberry
survives to tell about the world’s most dangerous job
America’s First Couple of Cruising, Lin and Larry Pardey,
join the Seminar Stage
Save the Date for Special Preview Night:
Friday January 10 in support of children’s charities 

(Toronto, ON) – Escape the cold and enjoy some summertime fun at The 56th Annual Toronto International Boat Show. Canada’s largest, most popular marine marketplace, drops anchor January 11-19, 2014, at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, packed with returning favourites and NEW attractions!

Bring the entire family for a fun-filled day of on-water boating activities, boat rides, wakeboarding and boat-handling demonstrations on the world’s largest indoor lake; visit the Kids’ Fishing and Boating Zones; discover more than 140 seminars; and shop over 1 million sq ft of retail space showcasing the latest yachts, boats, kayaks, canoes, watersports and marine accessories at great bargains. All activities are FREE with admission!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

President John F. Kennedy assassination limousine retired at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan

   Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village; Black Friday shopping in Metro Detroit lures Canadians

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 16/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   DEARBORN, Mich. – An image that stands out in the annals of history is a stately dark  blue U.S. presidential limousine travelling through the streets of Dallas, Texas 50 years ago.
   It was a perfect top-down day on Nov. 22, 1963 when shots rang out, leaving President John F. Kennedy mortally wounded.
   Whatever happened to that 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible? Was it destroyed after the day that changed history forever?
   It turns out the limousine was repaired, security enhancements added and then put back into service for future presidents for another 14 years.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible that carried President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated is on display at The Henry Ford museum. (Jim Fox photo)
   Retirement home
   Today, people from around the world travel to The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. to see the vehicle up close, take a photo and read about its history and that fateful day.
   “The Kennedy limo is one of the most photographed artifacts in our collection,” said Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager.
   “It is one of the busiest areas of the museum during peak hours,” she added.
   To mark the anniversary of Kennedy’s death, the museum is open with no admission charge next Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., courtesy of Target stores.
   Visitors can see the limo, sign a guest book and “see a special teletype display with wire transcripts from that day in 1963,” Foster said.
   There will also be four honour guards stationed near each end of the vehicle.
Henry Ford museum details (Jim Fox)

   The X-100
   As eerie as it might seem, the limo – code-named the X-100 by the Secret Service – was put back into service after the police investigation.
   And, it doesn’t look today like it did back then, said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at the museum.
   Many people believed it was destroyed or put away privately but it continued to serve presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter until 1977.
   They used the car “occasionally” although other presidential parade cars were built in 1968 and 1972.
   The most notable change is the addition of a permanent “greenhouse” roof instead of its convertible top, along with re-armoring the rear passenger compartment and bullet-proof glass throughout, Anderson said.
   President Johnson was “particularly uneasy” about using the car and had it painted black so it wouldn’t be as easily associated with Kennedy’s car.
Kennedy limo at The Henry Ford (Jim Fox photo)
   The museum has an extensive report about the limousine at: thehenryford.org/research/kennedyLimo.aspx
   It’s the most prominent of the museum’s presidential limousine collection.
   There is also the Theodore Roosevelt horse-drawn Brougham; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Sunshine Special;” Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Bubble Top;” and the Ronald Reagan limousine.
   Driving America is the ongoing “automotive experience” at the museum with a focus on the “enormous influence the automobile has had on American culture.”
   There is a collection of 130 historically significant vehicles, 60 cases of artifacts, digital media and interactive screens, and personal accounts. thehenryford.org; 1-800-835-5237

   Holiday Nights in the village
   Greenfield Village, located at The Henry Ford, holds Holiday Nights, a “Christmas card from the past” next month.
   This “80-acre time machine” transports visitors back to America’s past with 83 authentic, historic structures, artifacts and re-enactors.
   Costumed presenters recall Charles Dickens with a round of singing carols in top hats, cravats and petticoats and there are candlelighted paths and holiday shops.
A costumed ice skater taking part in Holiday Nights  in Greenfield Village. (Photo by Michelle Andonian)
   Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a trip in a Ford Model T along with ice skating, Santa and live reindeer and fireworks.
   There’s a dinner package with a “feast” in the Eagle Tavern, a former 1850s’ stagecoach stop, and “Supper with Santa,” a buffet turkey dinner at A Taste of History Restaurant.
   It happens Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 19-23 and 26-28, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. thehenryford.org/events/holidayNights.aspx; (313) 982-6001

   Attention shoppers
   Canadians making the foray into Michigan in search of “Black Friday” deals and low six-per-cent sales taxes on Nov. 29, can plan to arrive earlier.
   Many malls and stores across Metro Detroit are planning to open as early as 6 p.m. the night before on Thanksgiving Day.
   There is also the return of the Canadian Shopping Campaign with the chance to win a $1,000 Visa gift card, said Deanna Majchrzak of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
   The contest runs from now through Dec. 31 and there’s a form to enter online at shopgreaterdetroit.com; to plan a getaway: visitdetroit.com; 1-800- DETROIT (338-7648)


   Also appearing in Sun/Quebecor Media newspapers/websites:

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

Monday, November 11, 2013

Experience holiday cheer in Toronto

TORONTO (November 7, 2013) – There’s nothing like the holiday season in Canada’s largest city; the streets bustle with winter festivities with many packed, outdoor skating rinks, a one-of-a-kind Christmas market, theatrical and musical performances and special restaurant menus.

Toronto’s famous diversity adds to the holiday spirit with many themed-displays, a variety of annual events, and different neighbourhood celebrations.

Book your fun-filled Toronto getaway on seetorontonow.com, a one-stop shop to an ultimate Toronto holiday experience with the best rates and availability of Toronto’s hotels, and information on events, attractions and culinary offerings. While making holiday plans in Toronto, don’t forget to check out some of things going on in the city this festive season:

First Light at Sainte-Marie will amaze visitors with 5,000 candles at First Light

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons Interpreters Patrick DeCourcy (left) and Joël Mayotte begin the task of decorating the historic site

Named by Festivals and Events Ontario as one of its “Top 100” events in the province, Midland’s Sainte-Marie’s among the Hurons spectacular First Light returns for its 14th year on the evenings of November 28th, 29th and 30th (2013).

The unique feature of First Light is the illumination of the historic site only by candlelight. More than 5,000 candles in historic buildings and along lantern-lit paths lead to a variety of fun family activities.

Comedian Bill Engvall, Village People, Air Supply and Chubby Checker join the Winter 2014 concert line-up at Casino Rama


RAMA, ON (Monday, November 11th, 2013) – Casino Rama makes holiday gift giving a little easier this year with an amazing selection of upcoming concerts & events sure to please the music or comedy fan on any list.  The new January & February 2014 concert line-up includes performances by:

Bill Engvall
Friday, January 10
Tickets are $35/$45/$60
Back by popular demand and fresh off a stint on “Dancing With the Stars” this popular Southern comedian returns.
Show contents are determined by the artist and may be offensive to some patrons.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Discovery à la Montréal

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 9/13

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   The neighbourhoods of Montreal are truly infused with a “je ne sais quoi,” making them a pleasure for tourists to explore.
   Whatever the weather, people are on the streets with friends in these distinctive “quartiers.”
   They’re browsing the chic boutiques on Sherbrooke, ice skating indoors at the 1000 De La Gauchetiere office tower and just plain having fun.
      Via Rail offers three-course meals and
 drinks in its business class service. (Jim Fox photo)

   While avoiding traffic hassles, Via’s business class afforded the luxury of reserved seats, tasty three-course meals and drinks, including wine, beer and liquor, en route.

   Discovery à la Montréal
   Arriving downtown, we make a short hike to Le Centre Sheraton Montreal and a suite overlooking Mount Royal.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cutting-edge athletic program to be led by Olympian Bill Trayling, cycle and ski coach Andrew Doble and lauded Alpine coach Nigel Cooper


BARRIE, ONTARIO, October 28, 2013 – Just in time for the winter ski season, Horseshoe, a Skyline Resort, has announced the launch of Horseshoe MultiSport Academy, a one of a kind program designed to engage families in lifelong activity and sport development.

The Horseshoe MultiSport Academy (HMA) is led by Bill Trayling, a former member of the National Kayak Team through two Olympic Games and seven World Championships, lauded championship canoe coach, educator and multisport athlete himself.

Stratford Festival introduces $40 bus service from Detroit


November 8, 2013… The Stratford Festival is introducing a new luxury bus service between Detroit and Stratford for the 2014 theatre season – at a fabulous low price of just $40 return.

Enjoy a mid-week getaway, an extended weekend, or stay a whole week! Stratford Direct buses leave Detroit at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and return from Stratford at 5 p.m. on those same days, giving travellers the flexibility to choose the length of their Stratford visit. The service is available from June 3 to September 30.

“Last year we introduced a twice-daily bus from Toronto,” says Executive Director Anita Gaffney. “It was such a success that it prompted us to offer the service in Detroit, which is home to our biggest U.S. audience, and also just a three-hour drive away. We found the bus was used by patrons of all ages and helped bring new and lapsed patrons to the Festival. We hope the same will be true in Detroit.”

Toronto Zoo welcomes female Masai giraffe calf

Friday, November, 8, 2013, Toronto Ontario: The Toronto Zoo is excited to introduce female Masai giraffe calf 'Mstari', pronounced 'mi-starry'. 'Twiga', the Zoo's 23 year old Masai giraffe, gave birth on Thursday, October 17, 2013.
  The name 'Mstari' means 'Stripes' in Swahili and was chosen by Zoo Keepers in memory of her late father 'Stripes' who passed away September 29, 2012 at the age of 21. This newest addition to the Toronto Zoo family is happy and healthy, and mother 'Twiga' is also doing very well.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ein Profist! at Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest 2013

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 5/13

   By Jim Fox

   (Prepare for the 2014 K-W Oktoberfest from Oct. 10-18)

   “Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi.”
   Anyone who has heard that untranslatable-but-familiar chant is apparently ready to party.
   Loosely translated, it means “down the hatch,” as revellers chug a beer and finish it off with a round of polkas before roaring into another rousing chorus of Ein Prosit, the Bavarian beer drinking anthem.
The ceremonial tapping of the first keg of beer kicks off Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest on Oct. 11.
   That can only mean it’s time to roll out the barrel (of fun) for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.
   Expect to see men in lederhosen (leather shorts) suspenders and felt hats adorned with pins and huge feathers while women dress in dirndls – often low-cut and tight-fitting dresses with flowing skirts.
   Some might be engaged in a polka-type dance while imitating chickens to an oom-pah song.
   Don’t worry because everything is wunderbar (wonderful) at the festival that’s the biggest outside Munich, Germany.